Spanish is spoken by 559 million people around the world, including 470 million native speakers. It’s the second most studied language in the world and is the official language in 22 countries.
The culture in Spain is so diverse and divided between the different regions that they each have their own specialties and traditions. Going back in time, the Spaniards come from several different folk groups that have been united into one nation. Some of them even have their own language and would like their own independence, such as Catalonia and Basque.
In recent years Spain has attracted over 82 million tourists. This could have something to do with its 8000 beaches and popular coastal towns as well as the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Minorca and Ibiza.
- As a language, Spanish only falls in second place behind Chinese and is spoken by over a billion people and far outranks any other language.
- Spanish is a phonetic language. This means that you pronounce letters consistently and each letter represents a certain sound. This also means that Spanish is a fairly simple language for novices to learn, especially when it comes to spelling and speaking.
- Spain produces about 44% of the total amount of olive oil in the world, and not Italy as you may think! Andalusia is the region that produces the most olive oil.
- The country has the highest number of bars in all of Europe and is home to the world’s oldest restaurant, which is in Madrid and opened in 1725.
- Spain has more than one million hectares of vineyards producing red and white wine as well as Cava.
Spain is the fifth largest economy in the EU and one of the fastest growing too. Over 900 companies now operate in the country and investors include Dealz-Poundland, Stella McCartney, Jo Malone and Primark.
The benefits to UK businesses exporting to Spain include it being an entry route into Latin America and their familiarity with British products and openness to use them. Having English as an accepted business language is a big advantage and allows much easier interaction between the UK and Spain considering the size of their market.
There are many opportunities for exporting to Spain, and one of the areas of greatest increase is the food & drink sector due to the large number of British expats and British tourists that are driving this along with the demand for gourmet and premium products. Europe’s third largest food & drink exhibition, Alimentaria, offers opportunities for UK suppliers. If you want to start exporting to Spain, in any sector, you should appoint a distributor or an agent who knows the market and is well connected with local representatives.
Spanish is fairly easy to pick up and efforts to speak it will be graciously received, starting with the more formal until you build a relationship regardless of whether it is personal or professional.
When talking on the phone, introduce yourself before asking to speak to someone and try to avoid ringing between 2pm and 5pm, particularly if you are calling an individual at their home or small business, where they may still honour the traditional ‘siesta’ which is facing a battle for survival.
Spaniards rarely arrive on time, but you should not be more than 15 minutes late otherwise it is considered as bad mannered and either party should call ahead if they are going to be any later. If you are having a meal with them, the Spanish say ‘good appetite’ (que aproveche/buen apetito) before starting a meal and if you’re offered a glass of wine, wait until your host has made a toast (¡salud!) before taking a drink. If you aren’t offered another drink it’s time to go home.
Business tip: When setting up a meeting it is recommended to make appointments in advance and confirm them by letter, fax or email just before your arrival. This will avoid any confusion or misunderstanding and save time if meetings have to be re-arranged. When arranging the initial meeting it is advisable to choose a time around mid-morning.
Here are some basic greetings and phrases to familiarise yourself with:
|Good morning||Buenos días|
|Good afternoon||Buenas tardes|
We have translated extensively into Spanish in many sectors, including the health & wellbeing sector for clients such as Young Living and dōTERRA, the automotive sector for clients such as Armored Auto and in the Technology / Engineering sector for clients such as Zettlex. Types of content that we have translated include websites, product specifications, marketing material, newsletters, and product catalogues.